Posted in Lies


A good-natured refrain or snarled taunt
“put your money where your mouth is”
Dental appointments are just that
or rather
putting your mouth where the money is.

I found them by accident – toothache
an urgent need for a dentist
I asked around for a recommendation
word of mouth I guess.

They were professional and private couple
he the surgeon, she the chair side assistant
a warm almost comic duo
who made dental visits fun
treatment painless and cost anaesthetised.

Competent no doubt
judgement trusted without question
a cheerful hard-working professional
able to solve that elusive quadratic – speed and quality
Formula One pace. A jeweller’s precision.

Elective surgery
friendly fire
particles of tissue swim north
confused missiles hone on an unsuspecting target.
Embolism. Oxygen deprivation. Stroke.

He was off work a long time
his peers judged him competent to return
where fingers once waltzed, they shuffled
machine-gun wit slowed to small bore volley
sometimes jamming with word loss.

Awkward loyalty made abandonment difficult
it seemed too harsh – callous.
Pre-fluoride teeth
nothing left to be filled.
Annual visit only – if luck holds
x-rays plus scrape plus payment.
“See you in a year,” his cheerful signing off
“look forward to it,” the reflexive reply.

I kept hoping he would retire
that there wouldn’t be a next time.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s